Fate Versus Choice – Did Yoko’s Kiss Kill Kamina?

I am the odd sheep out, but Yoko’s kiss didn’t kill Kamina. 

I know there are very strong feelings about this one for anyone who has seen Gurren Lagann. To be frank I am tired of being told that Yoko is the reason why Kamina died. It seems like a matter of perspective, but many people seem to link this event linearly. As if it was fate that when X action happens Y is the only possible result. But choices are not a mathematical formula that doom you to one result only. There are generally a culmination of reasons and choices as to why something occurs and why something else doesn’t occur. Now through the linear lens I can agree that Yoko’s kiss did cause a conflict of emotion within Simon who was not ready for what he witnessed. Simon’s emotional instability did in the end result in the death of his best friend Kamina who put everything on the line to win and keep pushing forward. However it was not the result of the kiss itself that killed Kamina. It removes character choice from the equation. 

Let me put it to you another way. I don’t believe in a linear sequence of events. It’s very easy to be caught up in a narrative of a linear sequence of events because that is how the majority of story-telling and history telling is done. That the only way something could have been is the exact way that it happened. That is not the case. I believe in non-linear events. 

In short I want to explain the butterfly effect. 

For those who are interested in time travel anime, like myself, what I really enjoy about time travel anime is that different actions and choices yield different results. Take for example Steins Gate. This anime is all about how small differences in actions, and how people reacted to those actions greatly alters outcome. To a lesser degree I consider Re:Zero a time traveling anime, because Subaru is allowed to reset his demise by returning to a prior point in time to offset outcomes that are deemed bad outcomes (I am generalizing here, there is much more nuance to it than that). If you look at the episodes Endless Eight in the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, we have an endless litany of small changes to what occurred during the two weeks of summer vacation. It took a big leap to break the cycle the characters found themselves in to end the eternal summer. 

For those who are of the literary mind and have ever read Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder” short story will understand that small differences might make the biggest impact of all. Of course I don’t have time to break down all the nuance and subtle shifts that cause major outcome changes. That is for an entirely different written piece that I may write in the future. 

For right now we need to come back to the reality that Yoko’s kiss didn’t kill Kamina and here is why, Kamina’s death is the result of the actions of the villains who killed him. 

For those who want to still look down the linear lens of Yoko’s kiss let’s do it your way then. Let’s say you are correct that Yoko’s kiss was the only reason that Kamina died. What if then Simon had never witnessed that event, and I slightly alter the details of the anime. Would Simon have then been in a poor mental state causing him to fail his part of the mission of taking over the Dai-Gurren? 

What would have happened if Simon was more emotionally mature and hadn’t been distraught by the kiss. What if then Simon had reached the apex of understanding to know that Yoko had made a choice that was for his friend. If instead of being jealous what if Simon took that as an awesome thing for his best friend and brother Kamina? And then overperformed expectations in his mission. 

Notice that neither of these take into account the actions of the villains and the opposing faction on the other side of the war. A linear look at storytelling, or the shotgun outlook as I call it, that there was only one possibility is absurd to me. 

What if Kamina himself had made different choices in the battle? You see how quickly the idea of Yoko’s kiss killing Kamina is absurd. 

The choice to for Yoko to love Kamina was a beautiful thing that we the viewers should have appreciated. I understand that many people feel the emotions that Simon has felt, and therefore naturally take the angle that it was Yoko’s fault that Kamina died. But in reality there were a number of reasons why Kamina died, and there were a number of choices that could have prevented that or altered the outcome. Fate didn’t kill Kamina. Yoko’s kiss didn’t kill Kamina. 

Yoko’s kiss and expression of love for Kamina was a beautiful moment in the story. I want that moment to be accepted for what it is. While tragedy did happen after Yoko’s choice to love Kamina, the kiss  wasn’t the reason for his death. 

Do you agree? What are your thoughts? I want to know!

Is there anything you would like me to cover? Do you want to know my thoughts on anything? Have something I should know? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, comment below!